Explosive thrown at IDF troops near West Bank barrier; no injuries

Bomb tossed from passing vehicle at soldiers near Salem checkpoint; Palestinian attacker flees toward Jenin area

Illustrative: Israeli troops operate near the West Bank city of Jericho, early February 6. 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: Israeli troops operate near the West Bank city of Jericho, early February 6. 2023. (Israel Defense Forces)

A Palestinian hurled an explosive device at Israeli troops near the West Bank security barrier early Wednesday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The explosive was thrown from a passing vehicle at forces conducting routine a patrol along the security barrier, near the Salem checkpoint, close to the Arab Israeli town of the same name, the IDF said in a statement.

Troops returned fire at the vehicle and “identified hits,” the IDF said. Soldiers were sweeping the area in a search for the suspects, who fled toward the Jenin area.

There were no injuries to Israeli forces.

According to Palestinian media reports, no Palestinians were hurt in the incident.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians have been high for the past year, with the IDF conducting near-nightly raids in the West Bank amid a series of deadly Palestinian terror attacks. Those tensions have ramped up even further in recent months, which saw a cycle of deadly Israeli raids and Palestinian attacks, as well as an uptick in settler violence.

Palestinian terror attacks in Israel and the West Bank in recent months have left 15 dead and several more seriously hurt.

At least 86 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, though some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

On Tuesday, the IDF notified the family of a Palestinian gunman accused of killing a soldier in the West Bank last year that the military intends to demolish their home in the city of Nablus.

On Saturday, two Israeli soldiers were wounded in a drive-by shooting attack in the northern West Bank town of Huwara. The town was the site of two other terror attacks in recent weeks, and a high-profile rampage by settlers after one of the attacks killed two brothers.

The escalating tensions have come as Israel deals with widespread turmoil sparked by the government’s plans to overhaul the judiciary.

Opposition to the contentious legislative effort has spread in the military’s ranks, with some reservists halting their service in protest, and security officials warning the unrest constituted a security threat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday evening after Gallant called for the temporary halt of the legislative effort, a freeze which the premier agreed to the next day.

Gallant remained in his post on Tuesday, but his future, and a possible successor as defense minister, remained uncertain.

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